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Technology Innovations Prompt Revisions to UL Standards

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Technology Innovations Prompt Revisions to UL Standards

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Is your company keeping up with the current wave of innovation relating to central monitoring standards?

Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the organization that has developed standards for defining alarm services and enabling uniform performance of equipment, is updating the Standard for Central-Station Automation Systems (UL 1981) and the Standard for Central-Station Alarm Services (UL 827).

Industry Task Groups including software providers, operators of central stations and UL staff members made revisions to the standards. Under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process, the new drafts are now available for review and comment, before the changes become final.

Key revisions to UL 1981 include:

  • A new section covering automation system access security – both external access and program access levels;
  • Equipment redundancy now includes fault-tolerant equipment, as well as clustering and methods of virtualization;
  • Computer equipment must be high-availability systems, with duplication of key components;
  • Computer software must be capable of producing statistical reports by monitored system type;
  • Connections to the system by service technicians, subscribers, and other alarm professionals are now subject to certain security requirements;
  • Recommended methods for product evaluation are published in an Appendix, including an automation system check sheet for software providers.

Key proposed changes to UL 827 include:

  • The Monitoring Equivalent Weight (MEW) factor – new means of determining the configuration of hardware and infrastructure needed to support reliable monitoring (as the MEW increases, certain additional security requirements must be met, like duplication of the computer system and use of a separately located tertiary system);
  • Equipment redundancy now includes fault-tolerant equipment, as well as clustering and methods of virtualization;
  • Power supply requirements are expanded, including revised and new sections addressing testing standby power supplies, continuity of power and UPS units, and electrical transient protection for supply lines and signaling and communication lines;
  • The physical security requirements relating to entrances now allow for different doors and means of identification;
  • Management recommendations for remote sites from which operators process signals;
  • The previous section on cable systems has been renamed and includes information concerning wire or optic fiber cable, antennas and other wireless methods, switches, routers, and servers;
  • New requirements for the use of temporary facilities during a disaster, and for the actions to be taken when communications with public safety organizations are disrupted.

Emerging technology and new applications will continue to affect how UL Standards are written and revised, and the ACA blog will continue to be a resource for information on developments like these and others affecting the industry.

For a complete explanation of the proposed UL Standards, click here.